Not many people actually know I can make bread :P. But I do :). I learnt it from my mum while I was a kid watching her making delicious bread for my family.
This is a variant of French bread that I stole a recipe from the net. It's pretty easy. Here are the ingredients:
Bread Flour 350gWarm
Butter (Unsalted) 21g
Dry Yeast 5g
Direction is simple. Make sure all the ingredients are measured properly and you are more or lest successful in making our own bread. Investing in a good kitchen scale is always a good idea if you plan to bake often :)
Mix the warm water (around your body temp but not higher or you might kill off the yeast) with Sugar and Dry yeast in a bowl. Let it sit for 10 mins so you can check if the yeast is active. If its ok and alive, bubbles will form on the top of the mixture and it will give off a strong yeasty gamey smell.
Then pour the measure flour into a mixing bowl with the salt. Try to stir a bit with your finger to mix the salt with the flour. Direct contact of salt with yeast will kill the yeast or make it less effective. Then just throw in the milk and the mixed yeast solution. Knead with your hands. If its too sticky, relax and use some plastic knife or even a ruler to scrap off the sticky bits and keep kneading. Eventually it will slowly become less sticky as the yeast and flour is absorbing all the moisture. If it's still sticky after kneading for more than 5mins, then you must have placed too much water. You can powder your hands with some bread flour and try kneading it again. Vice versa, if its too powderly and won't form a dough, you have too much flour so just lightly spray some water to wet the dough. Once the dough is not sticky, throw in the butter (soften it by leaving it in room tempreture) and knead again. Continuce again until it stops feeling sticky and the butter all mixed into the dough.
Let the dough rest in a warm place for the 1st fermentation. Cover it with a cloth or a kitchen towel and let is sit for at least an hour. The dough will balloon and become at least twice the size of the original dough. If it dosen't, just be patience and let it sit longer.
Then pick up the inflated dough and drop it down onto the table on mixing bowl (about 50cm will do) and you will see the dough deflates like a balloon (this is releasing the gas). Now you can cut up the dough and shape it to whatever shape you like. If you like to have more crust, then just make smaller buns so you have more crust. Normally I could make 5 buns (Picture above) about the size of my palm out of it. After shaping just let it rest again (2nd fermentation). After an hour, the buns should rise to twice the size again like the previous process. If you like, you could also place it in the fridge and let it rise for more than 24hrs. This would make the bread taste better as the yeast taste will not be that strong. If you like yeasty taste (like beer) then just leave it in a warm place and let it rise even quicker. After that is just baking. Conventional oven is 30mins at 200 degrees celcius. Remember to preheat the oven first to 200degrees! If you have a UFO broiler or oven like mine. The time is 20mins (less time needed). After baking, let it sit in the oven for 5 mins and viola! Freshly baked Bread!
If the crust becomes soft, just mist some water on the surface of the bread and bake it again in the oven for 5 to 10 mins at 200 degrees celcius. It will taste like freshly baked bread.
Try it and have fun! It's easy :) Finally, here's a video of my boy eating my bread this morning. Taken with my new phone :P